Work-life balance debates continue to proliferate but give relatively little critical attention to managerial workers. This article draws on research into the experiences of managers in a local government organization revealing an intricate, multifaceted and heterogeneous picture of fragmentation, conflicting demands, pressures and anxieties. The study highlights the importance
of paid work for public sector managers; the concomitant difficulties in controlling working hours for those in managerial roles and the extent to which shifts in work orientation occur during managers’ careers. Research findings suggest that in practice work-life balance initiatives may only serve to increase managerial anxieties and pressures, the very opposite outcome to that
intended. These themes do not feature in many work-life balance debates, which tend to assume the perfect manager who is able and willing to create a symmetrical balance between different spheres of life.